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Avalon Media System

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Avalon Media System is an open source system for managing large collections of digital audio and video. The project is led by Indiana University Libraries.

For more information and regular project updates visit the Avalon website and documentation wiki.

Installing Avalon Media System

Installation instructions are available on Avalon's documentation site:


Quickstart development with Docker

Using Docker is the recommended method of setting up an Avalon Media System Development Environment. It can be completed in minutes without installing any dependencies beside Docker itself. It should be noted that the docker-compose.yml provided here is for development only and will be updated continually.

  • Install Docker and docker-compose
  • git clone
  • cd avalon
  • cp config/controlled_vocabulary.yml.example config/controlled_vocabulary.yml
  • docker-compose pull
  • docker-compose run createbuckets
  • docker-compose up avalon worker
  • Try loading Avalon in your browser: localhost:3000

Avalon is served by Webrick in development mode so any changes will be picked up automatically.

Rails debugging with Pry can be accessed by attaching to the docker container: docker attach avalon_container_name, make sure your container is running in background (detached mode). Now, when you reach a binding.pry breakpoint in rails, you can step through the breakpoint in that newly attached session.

To get live compilation and hot-reload when developing with Javascript, run WEBPACKER_DEV_SERVER_HOST= $NODE_PATH/.bin/webpack-dev-server --config /home/app/avalon/config/webpack/development.js inside the avalon container.

To run tests, first bring up the test stack then run Rspec as usual:

  • docker-compose up test
  • docker-compose exec test bash -c "bundle exec rspec"

To run Cypress E2E tests, first bring up the development stack, manually create testing users, and then bring up the cypress container:

  • docker-compose up avalon
  • Create the two testing users and one testing media object:
    • docker-compose exec avalon bash -c "bundle exec rake avalon:user:create avalon_password=password avalon_groups=administrator"
    • docker-compose exec avalon bash -c "bundle exec rake avalon:user:create avalon_password=password"
    • docker-compose exec avalon bash -c "bundle exec rake avalon:test:media_object id=123456789 collection=123456789"
  • docker-compose up cypress

Warning: The docker instructions above are the currently maintained development environment. If you're unable to use docker you can try the instructions below but they may be out of date.

The following steps will let you run the avalon stack locally in order to explore the out-of-the-box functionality or do basic development.

  • Ensure that you're running one of the Ruby versions listed in under rvm in ".travis.yml".
  • Install Mediainfo cli
  • Create config overwrites in config/settings/development.local.yml if necessary
  • cp config/controlled_vocabulary.yml.example config/controlled_vocabulary.yml
  • Install cmake if necessary. This can typically be installed via package manager
  • bundle install
  • rake secret
  • rake avalon:services:start
  • rake avalon:db_migrate
  • rake db:test:prepare
  • bundle exec rake server:development or bundle exec rake server:test Note: This process will not background itself, it will occupy the terminal you run it in

Docker Deployment

To take advantage of multistage and parallel build, Docker buildkit is recommended.

  • Build a production-ready image docker build -t myorg/avalon:version --target=prod .
  • Use this newly tagged image in avalon-docker repo.

Javascript style checking and code formatting

ESLint - Style checking

In order to run eslint on javascript files to check prior to creating a pull request do the following:

  1. Install eslint globally, locally on dev machine: npm install -g eslint
  2. Run eslint app/assets/javascripts/ --ext .js,.es6

Prettier - Code formatting

To maintain a consistent style of .js/.es6 code, the Prettier package should be used to clean up code before submitting a pull request.

  1. Install Prettier globally, locally on dev machine: ( yarn global add prettier or npm install --global prettier
  2. (optional) To be safe, you may want to commit your code before running through Prettier.
  3. Run the prettier CLI command from the application root directory, for example: prettier --write "app/assets/javascripts/media_player_wrapper/*.es6"
  4. Commit your re-formatted, beautiful code.

Browser Testing

Testing support for Avalon Media System is provided by BrowserStack.